“This excellent book fills a significant gap in the literature supporting planning education by providing clear, succinct advice on the design and implementation of small-scale student research projects.” – Chris Couch, Professor of Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool “A perfect text for supervisors to give students so that they plan their research projects carefully rather than leap headlong into data collection.” – Jean Hillier, Emeritus Professor of Sustainability and Urban Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne “Highly recommended... Ranging across topics such as planning a research programme and data management and the handling of ethical issues, the book will be very helpful to those embarking on a thesis or dissertation in the field.” – Peter Fidler, President of the University of Sunderland Research Design in Urban Planning is a short, accessible, and clearly written text on how to design research for a dissertation planning project. Aimed at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, this text will:  • discuss research design, looking in detail at how researchers make their choices of methods  • examine these in reference to case studies/examples from the planning research literature  • explain to students how to interpret policy to define researchable questions  • review the issues comparatively  • situate the methodological questions in terms of research ethics. Packed with case studies, exercises, illustrations and summaries, Research Design in Urban Planning is an invaluable resource for students undertaking their first substantial, individual investigations.

A Justification for Your Research Question

A Justification for Your Research Question

Key questions

What practical and academic justifications exist for a research question?

What is a literature review?

How does a literature seek to persuade readers of the academic benefits of answering a research question?

Key concepts

Practical justifications for research, academic debates, arguments, literature reviews, current state of knowledge


In the previous chapter, I argued that research in planning, as in other subjects, needs to be guided by one (or more) research questions, questions which the research is aiming to answer. This chapter addresses a question which someone else (someone assessing your dissertation, for example) might raise about any piece of research: Why is it worthwhile spending time and effort answering this particular research question? The research question therefore ...

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